Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Four of Cups
From the Starseed Tarot, by Patricia Cori
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

In the above image sea and sky are barely distinguishable as they flow and merge together. Perched on a rock, the only solid ground in sight, a woman sits pensively. The three cups behind her, representing emotions already experienced, as well as the cup being offered by the dolphin, representing new situations and emotions not yet experienced,  are ignored. Hands pressed to her heart she is taking the luxury of being in the moment, to let the waters rise and fall around and within her. Soon the incoming tide will force her to take refuge on the shore but, for now, she is free to just feel and be one with the elements around her.

The Fours of the Tarot are ruled by the Emperor who calls us to look at form and structure. The Cups are about our emotional world. To define form for our emotional body is very tricky. We have to consider our awareness, consciousness, what is hidden in the great depths of our subconsciousness, all the memories, hurts, loves, and fears we carry with us. We are also connected to the vast collective consciousness. There really is no way to make a form for all of that - it would be like trying to define the form of the ocean or to contain it in some giant bowl. 

We cannot control our emotions or put them in a neat little box but we can learn to recognize and honor them. This is where the Four/Emperor energy comes in handy.  We can use structure to create time and space to just sit and be with how we feel, to honor the pain or the frustration, the joy or the elation. We know water takes the form of what is is put into, and that it will find the path of least resistance.  Given time and the right conditions it can permeate anything. Same with our feelings. If we give ourselves a loving opportunity to feel and process we can learn to recognize how our emotional body works - when it is healthy, when it is fragile and needs extra care.

This beautiful card reminds us to take a time out and not feel pressured to take on more that we can process at this time. Rather, as the waters swirl around us, the restricted emotional container of our feelings can then expand, flow away, and allow a natural ebb and flow to move through us. The ocean, constantly in a state of change yet always appearing the same, is held within its shorelines. How does it know where to stop? How is that proverbial line in the sand drawn so that the ocean stops just there?

Like the ocean we are constantly experiencing flux and change. Not unlike oceanic shorelines, we contain our emotional world with boundaries. We learn to honor how we feel and say “no” or “yes” or “I don’t know”.  We can say nothing at all and reside in silence and stillness. We can be mindful of overindulgence, to be able to recognize when we have taken on too much and take time to withdraw and process. Are you carrying an emotional load for someone else? Is that serving you or the other person? Like the movement of the tides, our emotions will ebb and surge revealing different aspects of ourselves like exposed tide pools or force us to retreat to higher ground for refuge. 

Are other people or even your own judgmental voice saying you are taking “too long” to “get over” a hurt or trauma? Honor your process and take as much time as you need. In that great ocean of emotion we can hide our feelings in deep underwater caves but sooner or later they come to the surface. As part of the great collective consciousness we are living in one big emotional soup. We feel things that are undefined and hard to explain because they are not always our own. It is important to know when to embrace the great ocean of emotions and accept love, joy, or beauty that we may have closed off to before. 

We can sink or swim and even learn to surf the waves. The Four of Cups offers us a much needed time out to re-establish our boundaries so we can safely identify that watery realm of our emotions. 

Embrace the process.

....Kathryn Ravenwood 1-28-2020

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Four of Swords
From The Tarot of Transformation: Willow Arlenea & Jasmine Lee Cori
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Four is a number of formation and stability; four seasons, four major directions, four corners of a basic building foundation, and four suits of the Minor Arcana in Tarot. The Swords of Tarot represent many aspects including the mind, insight, speech, thoughts, and in discovering personal and cosmic truth. 

The mind is a powerful tool, our brains magnificent, our thoughts capable of brilliant creativity. The mind can also harbor psychotic fears, get mired in non-intentional patterns of negativity, and generally run on auto pilot driving us through life with no discernment or imagination. In the above image we see a woman standing in what appears to be a whirling and indistinguishable flow of energy. From it she rises and pulls into focus a beautiful mandala of form and color. Holding it brings a focal point of vision which now supports her in what was chaos. She has created mental structure which now gives her a portal of opportunity. From this perspective she can direct her thoughts to align and stabilize, not only to form, but to beauty.

The mandala is reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. Looking through its lens and turning it the viewer sees endless possibilities form from the colored glass inside as it reflects the light using mirrors. Like this delightful instrument, the mind, also an incredible instrument, has endless possibilities of thought to create patterns that form the structure of how we think, view the world, discern and decide.  As conscious beings, we strive for clarity of thought and to align our thoughts with our heart - with love. This powerful alignment leads us to right speech, right action, and the ability to listen not only to others but to our own inner guidance. 

The Fours of the Tarot are ruled by the Emperor who knows that even the strongest structures built with good intention must be open to change to prevent them from becoming confining and restrictive. Right forms are in service to right thought and right action and allows for negotiation rather than control. So it is with our minds. The Four of Swords reminds us to be open to negotiation, of a continual learning, re-evaluation, and new discernment of what it true. 

In the ongoing process of personal growth and mastery we have unlimited opportunities and challenges that temper our minds, emotions, will, health, and prosperity. Chaos and confusion, clarity and purpose, bliss and despair are all part of the dance of life. Sometimes it can feel like we are spinning out of control and sometimes the rhythm is just perfect as we flow with synchronicity and joy. Learning to master the art of negotiating our thoughts helps us negotiate in the outer world and move through it more balanced and empowered for ourselves and in being in truthful service where we can. 

The Bible tells us that the Word of God created the entire universe. We must remember that our thoughts and speech create the form of our own world. I am reminded of a verse from a song by the Sons of Champlin - I cut this out of a Rolling Stone magazine in maybe 1969 and carried it in my wallet for decades:

“The forms which we create caress our minds
And they’ll take us past this place which lives by time
And the forms we are creating today
Are the forms which we will be someday
And the good games are the flowers of our minds
I love you”

May the flowers of your mind bloom and bless you.

....Kathryn Ravenwood 1-10-2020

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Emperor Card from Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eaton
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

Mention the Emperor card of the Tarot and we immediately think of the Number 4, of form, structure, power and the male/father force. We think of Aires, the Ram, the first sign of the zodiac and its famous ME FIRST attitude. We think rules, discipline, and firm foundations. The Emperor is all these things which offer visions of of power and form for our lives for both the year ahead and the start of a new decade.

The Hebrew letter that corresponds with the Emperor is Heh or window. In the image above we see the Emperor sitting on his cubit throne within a window. He is looking out of the window even as he IS the window. Windows bring in light which the Emperor understands to be both the creative solar energy and the light of knowledge, of vision. Watching through a window suggests vigilance, observation, clarity, and surveying the landscape. Air/breath/life force also comes in through the window. Clear sight is a gift of the Emperor. He knows how to receive the power of the Cosmic fire, seeing the vision it imparts and, using universal laws, builds his empire of form which he then governs to hold his people in positive form.

The image is full of geometric shapes - triangles, the cube, the cross. They represent both physical and sacred geometry. The cube is the form of basic foundation and represents the manifested universe. The cross is a symbol of the intersection of the the manifest (mundane) and un-manifest (cosmic) realms - or heaven on earth. The Emperor’s head and shoulders form a triangle, his legs crossed forming a 4, or a T-Square; both are basic tools used in measurement, planning, surveying, and building. These tools provide the Emperor, the architect, the means to organize and build structures to bring his vision into manifested form by the application of natural laws.

In many versions of the Emperor card we see him on his throne looking over his shoulder - looking back at the Empress. It is her creative force that fills the Emperor’s world with beauty and abundance that would otherwise be sterile. He creates the forms to hold her creations and so honors, protects, and is in service to her. As the Empress is always creating something new the Emperor’s world is always changing. He must recognize what is old, even dead, that no longer serves the empire. He then has to plan again, rebuild, and reorganize new material into physical form. He must be dynamic to manage all the changes and maintain an on-going order or the once useful forms become limiting, restricting, and will eventually crack and fall into the rubble.

Each of us is the Emperor, the Window, allowing Light to shine through. We use our vision and consciousness as agents of creation, building our world. We order our experiences with deductive reasoning and application of rules and boundaries. The Emperor is known as the “Constituting Intelligence;” we must frame our individual constitutions even as we must conform to the laws of nature, which will always make themselves known - especially when errors in judgment drop us into chaotic experiences. We want freedom to explore and create but we also want what we create to support and sustain us. “Freedom is the choice of one’s discipline” (anon). The trick - or should I say plan - is to learn to make our decisions with the window open - letting in light, getting a clear view, and then using the power of self control and discipline to bring our vision - our decision - into form. Boundaries are not just about “staying in our lane” they are rules which allow us to practice right action to govern our lives in the greatest of cosmic laws - service and love.

We need to be the Emperor, not just to get our To Do lists done, but to empower our divine nature to express and bring forth the Light. No wonder the Emperor appears so formidable! This is a huge task and is one we are all here to master. The Emperor shows us how to do it - how to apply the power of cosmic law to establish order which then provides the perfect container for our creativity to thrive and expand. We are each a mini cosmos of the Universe; each an Empress and Emperor, creating and bringing into form that which we see with inward sight. Never doubt your identity as an architect of the divine.

Open up your window - receive the light - receive the breath of life - use your powers to be the Grand Architect of your life and to expand the cosmos in your creation.

…..Kathryn Ravenwood 12/31/2019